INTERVIEW: ASHLEY PEREIRA (survivor of “Alabama pastor who raped teen gets probation” story)

ASHLEY PEREIRA was raped by ex-Jason Greathouse in Alabama at 14, and her parents pushed her to marry him. They are now divorced. He just was let off with no jail time. They both now live in Tennessee (him in HENDERSONVILLE) and she’s forced to share custody of their child with him, while he doesn’t pay any child support.

PODCAST. FULL EPISODE.

INTERVIEW: ANTI-CRT VICTIM COACH HAWN & KYLA JENEE LACEY

We spoke with fired teacher Matthew Hawn & Poet Kyla Jenee Lacey. Hawn is popular with students, a victim of anti-CRT furor. It’s under review, and would be Sullivan County’s loss.

PODCAST

“HEARING THE CALL” TO ADDRESS RACISM IN KNOXVILLE

“HEARING THE CALL”

TO ADDRESS RACISM IN KNOXVILLE

by
Ali Pensky
As the nation hones in on the United States Capitol riot hearings and the ongoing and increasing threat of the Delta variant, the city of Knoxville is having its own crisis.
On the night of July 27th, a small group of protesters marched to Knoxville’s City Council Building. Walking down the middle of Gay Street, young protesters could be seen with Black Lives Matter flags and heard chanting “Anthony Thompson Junior.” This protest comes four months after Anthony was killed by a police officer in the Austin East high schools’ bathroom.
Constance Every, local advocate and Chairwoman of Knoxville’s Sleeves4Needs nonprofit, posted to social media earlier that morning that she will “never” forget what happened to Anthony. Additionally, last night’s protest comes just days after Tyler Whetstone of the Knoxville News Sentinel broke a series of stories about a “deep-seated problem at the Knoxville Police Department.”
The problem is racism. The Knoxville News Sentinel interviewed six KPD officers about their experiences at the department with racism, exposing that racist behavior in the department is not just common – it’s also covered up.
Amelia Parker, a Councilperson, created her own bill in an effort to enforce a zero tolerance policy for racism within the city’s government. On the night of July 27th at the City Council Building, her bill was voted on. Instead of the zero tolerance bill, however, a substitute bill was passed. Speaking with the group of protesters after the meeting, Councilwoman Parker says:
“Tonight was frustrating… the substitute motion was sent to me by email about an hour before the City Council Meeting… I knew this was an attempt to circumvent my efforts, but that’s okay. At least we had a conversation. It’s rough being a minority voice in a space.”
Though the language in the substitute bill was similar to the original, it lacked the “zero tolerance” component. Also on the night of the 27th, a task force was named with the goal of creating economic equality for Black people in Knoxville. The task force is called the “African American Equity Restoration Task Force.” The poverty rate among Black people in Knoxville is roughly 40%. Outside of the City Council building, protesters expressed their anger over the fact that a task force created to support Black residents is comprised of mostly white residents.
Reverend Calvin Taylor Skinner was among the protesters on Tuesday. Skinner ran for mayor in 2019, though he lost to current Mayor Indya Kincannon. Skinner, along with Every and five others, was arrested at the City Council Building months earlier and charged with disrupting the meeting. Reverend Skinner uses his faith to support, uplift and change the city of Knoxville.
Towards the end of the night, Reverend Skinner took the bull horn and made compelling remarks about Knoxville’s current state of emergency, and Knoxville’s potential. Keep in mind that last week the 27th deadly shooting of 2021 occurred within city limits.

Skinner yelled, “I hope this spreads all around the world. Ya’ll have to know what’s happening in Knoxville. They are erasing a whole people. While we stand here now, a whole people is being put out and erased. Enough is enough.” He ended by saying, “Knoxville can be the model city. The nation is looking for a model community that will stand firm for justice— that will stand firm for revolution, that will stand firm for healing. Can you hear the call?”

/div>

The primaries are nearing. August 11th is the first day of Knoxville’s early voting period, August 24th is the final day to request an absentee ballot, August 26th is the final day of the early voting period, and August 31st is Election Day.
Ali Pensky is a resident of Knoxville, and a sophomore in College at Appalachian State University.

INTERVIEW: ASHLEY KING, KKK STATUE PROTESTOR

Ashley King was a presence at the Capitol making legislators uncomfortable to get the KKK Grand Wizard Statue moved. Now it’s gone, and he’s here to tell us how it feels.

“WE HAVE OTHER WORK TO DO, BUT AT LEAST THAT’S ONE DOWN.”

PODCAST

FULL INTERVIEW

?REV. LAWSON CALLS OUT GOV. LEE

?Rev. Lawson: “GOVERNOR LEE, YOU HAVE A HOLE DOWN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR SOUL.”

Rev. Lawson, who led the lunch counter sit-ins, called out Governor Lee at the John Lewis Way celebration for his immoral decision-making — challenging Lee to lead with heart & humanity instead.

 

HOLLER LIVE: REPAINTING THE ALCOA BRIDGE

After a wildly bigoted local lady went viral for harassing two gay teens in ALCOA, the community rallied around them to repaint the bridge. Watch our INTERVIEW.

TENNESSEE HOLLER FEST 2021

Highlights from our first ever TENNESSEE HOLLER FEST, featuring inspiring voices from across the state lifting up the issues we face – including STELLA PARTON, JUSTIN JONES, REP. JIM COOPER, REP. STEVE COHEN, THE EQUITY ALLIANCE and much more.

Here’s a quick highlight reel.

Watch the FULL VIDEO HERE and LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

A Trip to Montgomery

Sandy summarizes her trip to the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and “lynching memorial” and searches for signs of its mission in our state.

FULL PODCAST available on Apple Podcasts here, and wherever else you like to listen here.

Organizer Justin Jones on the RUN-OVER-A-PROTESTER Bill

“If something does happen to me, bring my casket outside the Capitol.” Activist Justin Jones on the RUN-OVER-A-PROTESTOR bill now revived by Lt. Gov. McNally, Gov. Bill Lee, and the Tennessee Republican Party.

 

OPINION: The Death of Anthony Thompson Jr. Was Avoidable

Opinion by Ali Pensky of Knoxville, TN

I am not a detective or a lawyer, but as a human being, I watched the video of seventeen-year-old Anthony Thompson Junior being shot and killed in his high school’s bathroom, and I have questions. As the officers approached Anthony, he begged, “WAIT” six times. By the time he could muster up another “WAIT” the officer had already shot him to the ground, and then, proceeded to handcuff him.  

As I watched the comment section of WBIR’s Facebook Live, many people wrote something like, “What did you expect? He brought a gun to school.” And then I thought of sixteen-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant who was killed by the police, and how people claim the shooting was justified because she had a knife and was in a fight.  

Too many police have proven to America that they will not do anything to deescalate a tough situation besides shooting their guns at children, so why are we still funding them at the rate we do? 

 It seems obvious that more money should be given to social services that will help with issues such as addiction, homelessness, and mental health. It seems obvious that police across the country need sufficient bias training. So why is the idea of defunding the police so threatening to so many white people? It is because this country only actually polices some people, and those who are not controlled, and in fact benefit from the current system of policing, want the system to stay the way it is. I am a white girl from an upper-middle-class neighborhood in Knoxville who went to a private high school. If a kid I knew was accused of hitting his girlfriend, he would probably get his friends’ dad who is a lawyer to make it go away. He would not get shot in the bathroom of his school, like Anthony Thompson junior. That is white privilege. That is why the killing of Anthony Thompson junior is absolutely not justifiable. 

The question of why the DA spent an hour going over tapes of Anthony’s girlfriend accusing him of abuse, is part of a larger issue. While an accusation of domestic abuse is serious, it has nothing to do with Anthony being shot to death by a police officer in his own school’s bathroom. The question of why Anthony was portrayed as a school shooter and portrayed as having shot the officer when both accusations are false is part of a larger issueThe picture that was painted of Anthony before the bodycam footage of the shooting was even released is disturbing and manipulative. It puts systemic racism on display. 

I have no doubt that the officers in that bathroom felt they were in danger, but in what universe does the officer deserve more sympathy than the dead seventeen-year-old? We need to dismantle that universe because it appears to have become our reality.  

I will never fully understand what it means to be a part of the Austin East community. But I stand with them and I believe the death of Anthony Thompson Junior was avoidable. I do not have answers on how to dismantle this broken system or make Knoxville safe for everyone, but if you are privileged enough to do so like myself, donate to the Austin East Foundation, which aims to help AE receive the same educational opportunities as other Knox County students. Purchase something on the AE’s staff wish list on Amazon. Support one of the local restaurants that are donating their proceeds to AE, such as Hard Knox Pizza or Likewise Coffee. Go to a protest led by Constance Every. Take a stance.